Quick hits: Tumblr does infoviz

Check out dataviz.tumblr.com, a two-month-old collection of charts, information graphics and other artifacts to ponder. Naturally, some are richer and more compelling than others. Three particularly clear, thoughtful examples:

Instrument Range What I like: Color coding, always a plus if used intelligently; excellent labeling (sonic frequencies, where octaves start) — which is almost unnecessary given the clever use of the keyboard as the Y axis; X-axis groupings demonstrate not only how categories of instruments compare, but also how each instrument compares with other members of its category. Wishlist: There’s not much that needs improvement here. Use a serif font, maybe?

Comparing Dangers of Popular Drugs What I like: Shades of solid gray, perfect for photocopying; legible and consistent presentation; table of numbers alongside chart — potentially a distraction — underscores message and clarifies why drugs are charted in this order (by user dependence, in descending order). Wishlist: I’d love it if data sources were identified somewhere within or next to the graphic (to see those, you have to go to the original page). Also, it appears the data has been cherry-picked to make a particular case (ahem); it would be helpful — if potentially less persuasive — to use aggregated scientific results (aka consensus) on each of the drugs’ various attributes.

The Trilogy Meter. What I like: Small multiples! (Why don’t we see those more often?) The simplicity of the presentation makes it both straightforward and elegant — instantly understandable, with no clutter; attractive color choices, too. Wishlist: As with the drug chart, if the creator wants to convince the public at large, he’d be on more solid ground if he derived each data point from a broader consensus of sources. Also, for greater legibility, the numbers could be larger and black instead of white.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this page, for sure. Many thanks to the anonymous infoviz maven(s) responsible.

[Tumblr tip via Datavisualization.ch]

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